Scientists can now transfer quantum information using sound
Microwaves can influence the 'quantum switches' in a narrow diamond rod.

Leah Williams | 4 hours ago

Researchers from TU Wien and Harvard University have found a new way through quantum physics to transfer information. The science team proposes the use of minuscule mechanical vibrations, in which the atoms are paired via phononsthe smallest quantum mechanical units of vibrations or sound waves.

"We are testing tiny diamonds with built-in silicon atomsthese quantum systems are particularly promising," says Professor Peter Rabl from TU Wien. "Normally, diamonds are made exclusively of carbon, but adding silicon atoms in certain places creates defects in the crystal lattice where quantum information can be stored."

The microscopic deficiencies in the crystal lattice can be used like small switches that can be toggled between a state of higher energy and a state of lower energy using microwaves.

In individual segments, they can be built into a small diamond rod measuring only a few micrometers in length. Similar to a tuning fork, the rod can then be made to vibratehowever, these vibrations are so small that they can only be described using quantum theory.

It is through these vibrations that the silicon atoms can form a quantum-mechanical link to each other.

"Light is made from photons, the quantum of light. In the same way, mechanical vibrations or sound waves can also be described in a quantum mechanical manner. They are composed of phononsthe smallest possible units of mechanical vibration," explains Peter Rabl.

Scalability is the main advantage stemming from this advanced technology. "There are many ideas for quantum systems that, in principle, can be used for technological applications. The biggest problem is that it is very difficult to connect enough of them to be able to carry out complicated computing operations," says Peter Rabl.

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